Making progress.... but lots to do

Jonathan Lewis, service director for Education for PCC and CCC EMN-180519-081704009
Jonathan Lewis, service director for Education for PCC and CCC EMN-180519-081704009

F irst of all I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

January marks the return to school for pupils, teachers, staff and governors after the busy Christmas period and the start of spring term. For many, thoughts will begin to turn towards exams and the next steps in their education, writes Jonathan Lewis, Peterborough City Council director of education.

As we get back to work and start looking forward to what 2019 will bring, I want to focus on some of the highlights from the past 12 months.

It’s fair to say that 2018 was highly challenging, but we have made positive steps and achieved some great things.

We are making steady progress, however it will take time, effort and patience to get to where we want to be.

Our utmost goal is to boost outcomes for schools and pupils across the city and the fact that our Key Stage 2 results for 2018 showed steady improvement was great news.

The final results showed that 66 per cent of pupils achieved the expected standard in reading which is five per cent higher than 2017 and 68 per cent in maths which is one per cent higher.

In the subjects combined, 54 per cent of pupils achieved the expected standard which is a three per cent improvement on 2017 and a 15 per cent improvement over two years.

Since 2016, the city’s results have improved by 14 per cent in reading, three per cent in writing, nine per cent in mathematics and 15 per cent in the subjects combined.

Now don’t get me wrong, we’re still a long way short of where I want Peterborough to be in the national KS2 league tables, but as stated, it is going to take time and small steps to ensure that we climb up to a higher position.

For the fourth year running Peterborough was above the national average for the number of pupils achieving A-level passes.

With results received from all the city’s 11 secondary schools who had students sitting A levels in 2018, the overall pass rate has remained above the national average at 98.2 per cent – with the national average pass rate standing at 97.6 per cent.

Both outcomes are a slight decline on last year’s results, reflecting changes to the A level courses and the move to exam-only outcomes in many subjects.

GCSE results remained consistent, amongst a new examination system, but as with all outcomes we will continue to work to make progress.

One outstanding highlight from 2018 was the news that 89 per cent of the city’s primary schools were judged by OfSTED to be either Good or Outstanding, which is better than the national average.

I am extremely proud of this achievement - it shows the level of dedication by everyone in education in the city and their abiding willingness to improve.

Meanwhile, some of our Early Years services also drew positive feedback following a peer review in July.

This saw Peterborough’s START school readiness project praised for its work in preparing children for learning.

These are just some of our notable achievements from 2018. There are many, many more that have been made by individual schools, pupils, teachers and governors, that unfortunately, I don’t have the necessary word space to list!

However, we remain under no illusions that the challenges we face are stark and there is much more work that still needs to be done.

My aim for 2019 is to build on the progress made over the past year and kick on, so that we continue to see improved outcomes and create a system that works for all children in Peterborough